Doc’s Video Games is closed. I was never a big fan of Doc’s, but I’m still very sad to see it go. Doc’s Video Games was a local used game shop. Their prices were too high on their games for my taste, but they were independently owned and operated. The real tragedy is that Doc’s is the latest victim in the indie used game market in the Denver area. A few years ago there were dozens spread across several locally owned and operated chains: Buy-Back Games had four locations, Game Force had three, Level 7 had two and Doc’s only opened a few years ago and it’s already gone.
The first one to go was the Game Force on 64th and Sheridan. It was right by the Elvis Cinemas, a local discount chain of movie theaters, where you can get movie tickets for $3 or two for one with a coupon. I used to go to Game Force regularly because I’d take the bus, and while I was waiting for my movie, I’d pop in. They were very reasonably priced and the clerk, while a bit surly, was actually a pretty nice dude and if he liked you, would give you additional discounts. From there I got tons of PSOne games for pennies on the dollar including Final Fantasy Tactics, Arc the Lad collection and Suikoden IV. Even if I didn’t always buy something, he’d at least be good for a debate or discussion about the gaming industry. I liked that personal touch.
You got that same personal touch from Buy-Back Games. I’d been to three of the four locations, never going to Lakewood because it was too far, but the first one to go was the one in Aurora. It was just across the street from Nickel-a-Play, a low-cost arcade where you can play all the classic cabinets you want for an admission fee, or the redemption games for a nickel. Whenever I’d go to the arcade I’d stop by that particular Buy-Back and look for deals. Last time I went two years ago it was closed. The one I’d go far more often to was the one in my neighborhood in Federal Heights. It was here I’d filled out my PS2 collection. They were also THE place to get weeb games. Katamari, the Gust Atelier games, loads of PSP and DS games. It was here that I got my copy of Chrono Trigger for the DS. It only cost me $13, and it still came with the poster. The people who ran it were incredibly nice. Happy to help and answer your questions without making anyone feel like a noob or fake gamer. It closed two months ago. And from what I hear, the anchor store and original location on 44th and Wadsworth is the last one standing.
Now Doc’s is gone.
It’s not hard to figure out why this is happening. Rents in the Denver area are skyrocketing, making it hard for small independent businesses to turn a profit. Even as expensive as gaming gets, classic games are still a fairly niche hobby, and the majority of stores turn to online only, if not go out of business entirely. It makes me sad. I have a dislike of GameStop for many reasons. The way it treats its employees and customers, and the way the employees treat the customers as well. The constant, used car dealer approach to sales, the low buy price for even recent used games, and the fact that less and less of the floor space is devoted to games at all. They never had the kinds of games I wanted in stock, and for every game I bought at GameStop, I was buying at least four from Buy Back or Game Force.
I still have other places to hunt down reasonably priced used games. Retail stores can sometimes have good clearance sales, and you get lucky at garage sales, thrift stores and pawn shops, but it’s still a shame that ‘progress’ and Denver turning into a trendy area means my hobbies and interests, and small business owners, have to suffer. I’ve never been a big fan of my community. Now I’m even less so.